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F-35B Lightning II Stealth "Operational Test Trials"
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F-35B Lightning II Stealth "Operational Test Trials" - May 30, 2015, 09:56 PM


Amy Butler here. As senior Pentagon editor, there are perks to being a scribe. May 26, I had the opportunity to witness aviation history with a small group of reporters invited to the USS Wasp amphibious ship to witness a few hours of the first-ever F-35B Operational Test (OT-1) trails off the coast of North Carolina. I'm posting some of the many videos I collected to give our readers a sense of what we saw on the boat.

During OT-1, actual Marines -- not test overseers -- are operating the six F-35Bs that embarked May 18 for the tests; this includes pilots and maintainers. During DT (developmental testing), we got to see firsthand the first vertical landing and short takeoff at sea, but in OT-1, the Marines are demonstrating a cadence to operations to gain confidence the single-engine, stealthy fighters can assimilate into an air wing onboard the amphibious ship, which will include other platforms: the MV-22, CH-53E/K, AH-W/Z and unmanned air systems among them. This is all leading up to what the operational debut of the F-35B, slated in July.

This is a long video -- 8 plus minutes. But, if you stick with it, here's what you'll see. And, a word of caution. Turn down your speakers or headphones, or grab a cranial. Its very loud.



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May 30, 2015, 10:10 PM


F-35 Latest Carrier Landing Trials



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May 31, 2015, 07:44 AM

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I blame the case sensitive search tools...

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May 31, 2015, 09:09 AM

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I blame the case sensitive search tools...

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Once again, as always, Rob's fault.



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May 31, 2015, 10:25 AM

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I blame the case sensitive search tools...

gracias for the link
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May 31, 2015, 01:39 PM

Really amazing, the landing is so calm that it looks fake. So cool.

Also I can't believe that the flight deck guy can go behind or under the jet engine while its running.


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July 8, 2015, 04:35 PM




Time to stick a fork in this abortion and just churn out a bunch of stripped down F-22's. At least we know that plane works ... when it isn't poising it's pilots of course.



We’ve heard of significant shortcomings before with the fighter jet that’s supposed to be America’s future, but this is just as bad as it gets. The F-35 performed so dismally in a dogfight, that the test pilot remarked that the it had pretty much no place fighting other aircraft within visual range.



F-35 Can't Carry Its Most Versatile Weapon Until At Least 2022 . The short takeoff and vertical landing capable F-35B, which has handicapped the entire Joint Strike …Read more

And it’s even worse than a mere maneuverability issue. At one point, the pilot’s helmet was so big he couldn’t even turn his head inside the cockpit.
That’s according to a scathing report obtained by our friends over at War Is Boring s://medium.com/war-is-boring/test-pilot-admits-the-f-35-can-t-dogfight-cdb9d11a875) that details the results of visual range air-to-air engagement tests between an F-35A and an F-16C. The F-35, which the US Air Force, Navy, and Marines are expected to rely upon, in addition to the air arms of militaries across the world for at least the next few decades, was supposed to be better than its F-16 predecessor in all respects.
The F-35’s ability to compete against other fighter aircraft in a close-in dogfight, even against the decades old designs it looks to replace, has always been a contentious issue. Long ago, theF-35’s maneuverability ://foxtrotalpha.jalopnik.com/pierre-spreys-anti-f-35-diatribe-is-half-brilliant-and-1592445665) was planned to far exceed that of fourth generation fighters. Over time, those claims eroded to the point where the troubled stealth jet is described as being “about as maneuverable as an F-16.”
The fact that the F-35 can carry its weapons and fuel internally was of course the major deciding factor in being able to make such a claim.
Keep in mind, all of this is anecdotal, but testing reports over almost the last decade have supported the fact that the F-35 was not nearly as nimble as many would like it to be. Still, all claims regarding its performance against other fighters in a dogfight remained largely academic, with only bits of data to compare in a vacuum.
Which is why the candid report described in the War Is Boring article finally gives us a good first hand account as to how capable – or incapable as it may be – the F-35 is in the within-visual-range fight.
The test pilot flying the F-35 makes it very clear that the new jet, even in its ideal configuration without any external stores, was no match against a Block-40 F-16C in a less-than-ideal configuration with a pair of under-wing fuel tanks:

Even with the limited F-16 target configuration, the F-35A remained at a distinct energy disadvantage for every engagement.
In dogfighting, energy is everything, and if your enemy has more kinetic and potential energy for maneuvers than you do, then you’re toast.
The report even goes into what is akin to a fairly desperate move usually only used in one-on-one air combat maneuvers, known as a rudder reversal, that the F-35 is apparently decent at performing at slow speeds. The fact that this was even detailed in the report as a useful tactic is telling. In reality, using such maneuvers means you are probably going to die if any other bad guys are in the area as it rapidly depletes the aircraft’s energy state, leaving it vulnerable to attack.
Another area that the test pilot highlights on is the F-35’s abysmal rearward visibility. David Axe from War Is Boring writes:

And to add insult to injury, the JSF flier discovered he couldn’t even comfortably move his head inside the radar-evading jet’s cramped cockpit. “The helmet was too large for the space inside the canopy to adequately see behind the aircraft.” That allowed the F-16 to sneak up on him.
The report goes on to make other telling remarks about the F-35’s air combat maneuvering performance. It should be noted that the aircraft’s flight software can probably still be tweaked to offer a little wider envelope for pilots to traverse during a hard turning dogfight, but seeing as this test occurred this year (almost a decade after the first F-35 flew), the amount of extra agility that can be squeezed out of the F-35 is most likely marginal at this point. Also, the aircraft flown in the test, an F-35A, is the most maneuverable F-35 variant of the lot, being capable of pulling 9g, while the carrier capable F-35C is capable of pulling 7.5g and the short takeoff and vertical landing variant, the F-35B ://foxtrotalpha.jalopnik.com/7-things-the-marines-have-to-do-to-make-the-f-35b-worth-1560672069), is only capable of pulling 7g.
[img]http://i.kinja-img.com/gawker-media/image/upload/s--mr51QoKW--/c_fill,fl_progressive,g_center,h_77,q_80,w_137/iinbjtwdvsnmbotj4zjt.gif ://foxtrotalpha.jalopnik.com/7-things-the-marines-have-to-do-to-make-the-f-35b-worth-1560672069)
7 Things The Marines Have To Do To Make The F-35B Worth The Huge Cost ://foxtrotalpha.jalopnik.com/7-things-the-marines-have-to-do-to-make-the-f-35b-worth-1560672069)After years of passing more conventional capabilities by, I think it is time for the Marine Corps,…Read more ://foxtrotalpha.jalopnik.com/7-things-the-marines-have-to-do-to-make-the-f-35b-worth-1560672069)


All of this also reminds us of the fact that we cannot believe the information coming from the program itself, which is troubling. Only as the aircraft continues to enter the fleet (which is awhole other ridiculous story ://foxtrotalpha.jalopnik.com/the-pentagons-concurrency-myth-is-now-available-in-supe-1689810660)) will we begin to hear more honest reviews of its performance, ://foxtrotalpha.jalopnik.com/major-obvious-f-35-pilot-says-a-10-will-always-be-bett-1696947416#_ga=1.265164303.1274482450.1394241586) as in the past we have had to rely on unclassified congressional watch dog reports and other unbiased sources to identify trends and key data points.
://foxtrotalpha.jalopnik.com/major-obvious-f-35-pilot-says-a-10-will-always-be-bett-1696947416#_ga=1.265164303.1274482450.1394241586)
Major Obvious: F-35 Pilot Says A-10 Will Always Be Better At Air Support ://foxtrotalpha.jalopnik.com/major-obvious-f-35-pilot-says-a-10-will-always-be-bett-1696947416#_ga=1.265164303.1274482450.1394241586)F-35 pilot Major John Wilson said the obvious in an interview with Danish aviation reporters; the…Read more ://foxtrotalpha.jalopnik.com/major-obvious-f-35-pilot-says-a-10-will-always-be-bett-1696947416#_ga=1.265164303.1274482450.1394241586)


Eisenhower, and others to some degree ://foxtrotalpha.jalopnik.com/arthur-c-clarke-warned-us-about-the-f-35-and-its-damnin-1585237830#_ga=1.265164303.1274482450.1394241586), did warn us gravely to beware of the military-industrial complex, I supposed of which the F-35 is the poster child.
://foxtrotalpha.jalopnik.com/arthur-c-clarke-warned-us-about-the-f-35-and-its-damnin-1585237830#_ga=1.265164303.1274482450.1394241586)
Arthur C Clarke Warned Us About The F-35 And Its Damning Costs ://foxtrotalpha.jalopnik.com/arthur-c-clarke-warned-us-about-the-f-35-and-its-damnin-1585237830#_ga=1.265164303.1274482450.1394241586)T he fantastic and haunting short story "Superiority," written by the science fiction…Read more ://foxtrotalpha.jalopnik.com/arthur-c-clarke-warned-us-about-the-f-35-and-its-damnin-1585237830#_ga=1.265164303.1274482450.1394241586)


The fact that the F-35 is maybe not really a good fighter at all is reminiscent of the question that we’ve been asking for years — if you don’t really need competitive maneuverability, than why do we need a fighter at all?



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July 8, 2015, 04:41 PM

Maybe just recommission these ...




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July 15, 2015, 11:34 AM

Pew pew



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July 15, 2015, 02:53 PM

I did find it rather alarming that when they put these up against an F-16 in a dog fight...they were absolutely outmatched by a plane that was built 30+ years ago


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July 15, 2015, 03:06 PM

I don't think its about making a better plane, I think its about supporting government contractors...

oops.


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July 15, 2015, 03:09 PM

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I don't think its about making a better plane, I think its about supporting government contractors...

oops.
Congressman Blah Blah Blah from District This & That agrees.



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July 15, 2015, 03:32 PM

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I don't think its about making a better plane, I think its about supporting government contractors...

oops.
My bank account agrees.


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July 15, 2015, 03:44 PM

At least its an entertaining use of tax dollars; I just really wish they'd bring back an airshow to this area...

edit: Wait, are they actually doing an Airshow this year at Andrews Air Force Base?


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July 15, 2015, 03:57 PM

Anyone know if it's equipped with the 20mm Vulcan or the 30mm GAU?
Either way probably the only thing that works right on the plane at the moment.

If the gun was set to full chat, that small burst probably sent at least 50rds down range.



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